Students flee a police tear gas assault at the Plaza of the Three Cultures in Mexico City during the government crackdown—10 days before the 1968 Summer Olympics. As many as hundreds were killed in what came to be known as the Tlatelolco massacre. Photo Courtesy EPA/Acervo Comité 68

Oct. 2 marks the 45th anniversary of the student massacre at the Plaza de las Tres Culturas (Plaza of the Three Cultures), in Tlatelolco, Mexico City.

First, a protest was formed as a social response to the country’s repressive climate and authoritarian government. University professors, intellectuals, homemakers, construction workers, and business professionals participated in the movement.

The CIA was concerned with the social tension, and alleged threat of the international left. They sent Washington a report concluding that the student movement could affect the Olympic atmosphere.

Following the act, Díaz Ordaz’s government began a campaign to smear the movement and organized violent groups to destabilize it.

On the evening of Oct. 2, while thousands of people demonstrated at the Plaza three flares appeared in the sky.

The soldiers moved against protesters and snipers fired indiscriminately. Sounds of machine guns and rifles pierced in all directions. People began to run, desperately seeking refuge. Tlatelolco became hell.

Officially, 39 civilians and two soldiers were recorded dead.

In her book, “The Night of Tlatelolco,” writer Elena Poniatowska revealed that she had counted at least 65 corpses in one place . English journalist John Rodda estimated that the death toll added up to 325 people— other sources recount that more than 1,500 lives were lost.

The Mexican government placed the blame on young communists. The Secretary of National Defense, General Garcia Barragan said that on Oct. 3, “the army intervened to shut down a shootout between two groups of students. Mexico is a country where freedom prevails and will prevail.”

Documents that were declassified by the Ministry of National Defense and the CIA in 2007 reveal that the presidential state used snipers to induce an armed response by the military—causing a massacre.

The Tlatelolco massacre left a deep wound in the collective subconscious of Mexico that still remains open. It is aggravated by the the current government of Enrique Peña Nieto that discredits protesting. The government represses social movements around labor reforms, education, and energy. This negatively impacts the 50 million Mexicans who live in extreme poverty.

The blood of the martyrs trampled at Tlatelolco has dried in the soil of the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, but the demand for social justice that birthed the movement of 1968 remains alive.

On Wednesday, Oct. 2, the #YoSoy132 Bay Area movement Bay Area invites the community to honor the memory of the victims of the slaughter of Tlatelolco with a vigil that will be held at 24th and Mission streets in San Francisco at 6 p.m.

—Translation Gabriela Sierra Alonso